Ozy Media Fallout Reinforces Need for Independent, Trusted Ratings

By Henley Worthen · October 07, 2021

Ozy Media Fallout Reinforces Need for Independent, Trusted Ratings

As the news of Ozy Media broke, jaws across the media advertising industry dropped to the floor. No one wants to see a company collapse, but it can sometimes be unavoidable. At Tubular, we strive to set the foundations of trustworthy ratings to build a transparent media future. 

Ozy engaged in some questionable business tactics — from impersonating a Youtube executive on a call with Goldman Sachs, to leading their own team to believe in a false deal with A&E. These actions are certainly learning lessons for those involved at Ozy. But a lesson for all of us in media is identifying the blatant inflation of ratings. 

Ozy Founder, Carlos Watson, made claims on NBC’s TODAY show that many companies pay for advertising (and they certainly do). However, there is a distinct difference between paid promotion that leads to organic growth and relying on a paid media strategy. 

In 2017, Buzzfeed revealed that Ozy bought large amounts of invalid traffic. Critics agree that their monetary investments were not aimed at increasing organic reach, but rather inflating numbers to satisfy sponsors. 

Ozy Media isn’t the first – or the last – media company that will pay for views and subscribers. Advertisers, brands, and media companies must ask themselves: how do we access trustworthy ratings that can measure real viewer engagement?

Our evolving media landscape needs a standard of trust, and that’s why The New York Times used Tubular insights to understand Ozy’s real audience value, and AdExchanger asked our CMO, Josh Schmiesing, for his perspective on the incidents. 

“The entire saga underlines the need for broad adoption of independently measured standards for audience reach and engagement that will help establish more trust and unlock the real potential of the marketplace.”

-Josh Schmiesing, CMO at Tubular Labs

3 Tips for Accessing the Truth of Audiences

  1. The Truth is in the Data

Various Tubular measurements can help you sniff out the fake from the real; here are a few of the major ones: 

Check engagement rates and how they compare to industry benchmarks. Our Tubular Video Ratings revealed Ozy Media had an engagement rate of  <0.1x, indicating high viewership and low engagement compared to the YouTube average, a sign of dollars driving views. 

Look for variations in the view totals for the top videos. If all the top videos have the same number of views, this can indicate paid viewership. Many of Ozy Media’s top videos had exactly 1.0M views… a little suspicious if you ask us.  

  1. Determine Measurable Outcomes 

Many marketers have generous budgets and overarching goals — but it’s not specific enough to find the holes in your pockets. Because of loose spending strategies, many companies don’t know how to measure if a partnership investment positively affected their ROI or if it did absolutely nothing. With Tubular’s content performance, audience demographic, and consumer behavior measurement solutions, you can more accurately project how much each investment will pay off. With a trustworthy measurement partner, you’ll be able to identify when something isn’t genuine.

  1. Verify, Verify, Verify.

Publishers, advertisers, and investors need to thoroughly verify traffic acquisition and quality viewership before unconsciously spending ad dollars and investing. Using trusted 3rd party providers will help create a higher standard for the future of media, and so it is on all of us to do our due diligence. 

Access ratings you can trust — so you can invest in the truth. 

If you’d like to learn how your company can benefit from working with Tubular, reach out here

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